Mark your calendars for June 12, 2009. That's the deadline mandated for US broadcasters to shut down all analog TV broadcasts. If you have one or more analog-only TVs that don't have cable or satellite service connected to them, you will need a digital converter box to receive any local over-the-air broadcasts after June 12, 2009. However, you should be aware that many local broadcasting stations have already changed over to digital and will continue to change before this deadline. This transition is necessary for a more efficient use of the airwaves that will enhance public safety through better emergency communications, improve over-the-air TV picture quality, and facilitate the development of advanced services such as mobile broadband.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has certified more than 80 boxes able to be purchased with the DTV converter box coupons. The boxes will be sold at over 250 retailers nationwide including Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, Radioshack, Sams Club, Target, and Wal-Mart stores. The digital converter boxes are scheduled to retail for between $47.99 and $79.99, and the federal government began accepting applications for discount coupons on January 1, 2008. Please note that only consumers who have completed and returned applications to the NTIA will receive digital converter box coupons.

Consumers will be eligible for two (2) coupons per household in the amount of 40 dollars each. The coupons will expire ninety (90) days after being issued, so it is important that consumers use their coupons within 3 months. Each coupon will have an expiration date printed on the back of it. Between January 1, 2008 and July 31, 2009, you can request a coupon while supplies last in one of four ways:
 

  • Apply online
  • Call the Coupon Program 24-hour hotline 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), TTY 1-877-530-2634
  • Mail a coupon application to: PO BOX 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Download a Coupon Application here.
  • Fax a coupon application to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)

The NTIAs coupon program website provides information in six languages in addition to English: French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. This contact center is also accessible for hearing-impaired persons through a TTY number. For more information about the converter box program, the converter box coupons, and receiving the coupon application please click on the following link to the NTIAs website.

If you have immediate questions, please email or call the Consumer Division Hotline at the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable at consumer.complaints@state.ma.usor 1-800-392-6066. More information will be provided on our website at www.mass.gov/dtc as details become available.